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A Monthly Guide to Peak Tornado Season in America

Where and when you'll normally encounter the most violent twisters—mapped.
A large tornado moves through Rochelle, Illinois, earlier this month.
A large tornado moves through Rochelle, Illinois, earlier this month.Walker Ashley/AP

It's black and thundering out, with rain slashing at the windows and wind bashing the door like an enraged buffalo. Is this just a bad storm, or is it an incoming tornado about to make your life hell?

Staying on top of weather alerts always helps with that question. But for folks who want to know the odds ahead of time, check out this great map from U.S. Tornadoes. Using data from the Storm Prediction Center, it shows which month of the year every county in the contiguous United States hits its average peak tornado season. (Larger, interactive version here.)